Sustainable production in stock preparation is not a vision for the future but already a reality today. Many existing plants benefit from solutions from Voith's leading BlueLine stock preparation portfolio. In the last five years, Voith experts have commissioned more than 30 plants with a total production capacity of 12.8 million tons per year. Voith has also launched more than 20 new innovative machines in recent years. Based on its experience, the company is characterized by in-depth know-how and reliable, optimized process standards. In addition, the development of new solutions is part of Voith's sustainability program “Papermaking for Life.” Every year, the technology company invests around 100 million euros in research and development of impetus-giving innovations that are intended to further increase sustainability and efficiency.
“As full-line supplier, we not only focus on the individual machine components but also on the entire stock preparation process,” confirms Andreas Heilig, Vice President Products Fiber Systems at Voith Paper. “Our BlueLine stock preparation portfolio is used in new plants worldwide. But upgrading existing plants to our solutions also pays off – both economically and in terms of sustainability and efficiency.”
Falk Albrecht, Head of Process Technology Fiber Systems at Voith Paper, mentions, among other things, pump energy, which accounts for up to 50 percent of the energy consumption of a stock preparation system. There is great potential for optimization here, especially with existing, older systems. In order to minimize energy consumption, Voith solutions strive for the highest possible consistency level of the achievable quality parameters with the same technological performance. Savings of between 20 and 30 percent are already possible through this measure. At the same time, great attention is given to low pressure levels. Another product example for increasing energy efficiency is Voith's LowEnergyFlotation technology (LEF). Through its use, energy savings of up to 50 percent can be achieved in the flotation pumps, without negatively affecting the technological result.
Customers also benefit from significantly lower water and energy consumption with the AquaLine water and wastewater management system, which is well thought-out in all aspects. The system, developed and optimized by Voith and Meri over many years, treats the process water biologically and thus reduces the COD and calcium content in the water. This saves fresh water and reduces the consumption of additive materials on the paper machine. The AquaLine Flex system variant enables fresh water consumption to be reduced to less than 5 liters per kg of paper produced. With the very technologically advanced AquaLine Zero solution, fresh water consumption is reduced to 1.5 liters per kg of paper produced. The use of the biogas produced as a substitute fuel for fossil fuels also led to a CO2 reduction of around 10 percent in one German installation.
In addition to water management, high-performance process components are important in stock preparation. Modern disc filters produce excellent filtrate qualities that can be fed directly to biological treatment. Additional primary clarification is no longer required, which has a very positive effect on yield, investment costs and the environment. Significant energy savings can also be achieved with the new InduraClean heavy-weight cleaning system compared with conventional solutions. As part of the BlueLine stock preparation family, Voith presented the system, which consists of an improved cleaner bank, the new InduraClean IDC-4 and the optimized InduraClean IDC-5. Depending on requirements, the modular cleaning technology can be configured for significantly increased production, a high specific energy reduction of up to 50 percent, or significantly improved separation efficiency.
The OnView.MassBalance digitalization solution is another example of how sustainability and efficiency are combined in Voith's product portfolio. The innovative digital tool displays losses in stock preparation in real time, allowing the operator to identify optimization opportunities in specific areas at a glance and initiate appropriate countermeasures. In this way, high losses can be avoided, which is why the solution pays for itself after less than a year. In the future, stock preparation will become even more digitalized and autonomous. Voith experts are working on 24/7 real-time analysis of complex system interactions, which will allow automatic adaptation of process parameters to individual situations. At the same time, the need for manual intervention is reduced to a minimum. In addition, Voith is developing self-optimizing control systems that enable an optimal balance between production volume, efficiency and quality while maintaining the highest reliability based on daily updated cost models.